An App for That

As a musician, I used to think that poetry was just a waste of good song lyrics. Perhaps I’ve learned now to appreciate more creative diversity, but my feeble attempts at writing poetically show I might yet have some way to before I master this art. If rhyming qualifies, though, then I just might be able to pull out the thesaurus and begin. So here goes. A few reflections on how technology has changed us.

When a driver was a golf club and hardware meant some nails,
Forgetting important dates were our only memory fails. Continue reading

Fifty Years On

This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The ‘why’ of Armstrong’s famous “giant leap” became comparable to an Everest climb. He was first, and it was there. Of course, we haven’t yet colonised or mined the moon and the initial visit did little other than afford galactic bragging rights over the Russians. Was it really so important and how does it matter now? Continue reading

What I’ve Learned Writing 700 Blogposts

The 700 club is a US Christian Broadcasting Network program featured by ‘Pat’ Robertson. The show is a blend of personal stories, news, guest appearances and songs. The original 700 were financial supporters banding together to save the show soon after its 1960 debut. Its content, though regular, remains random and unpredictable … a little like my blog. I’ve now joined a 700 club, too, having 700 posts on this site. Here’s some of what I’ve learned from writing regularly. Continue reading

The Best of the New Testament Commentaries

“Commentaries too often replace our need to hear from God,” an older minister once told me. He was right in the sense that our devotional reading of the Bible is never out of vogue. On the other hand, for background insights and a richer perspective of context, the learning provided by experts can be extremely helpful. Most of their work is very readable and affordable. So, here’s my take on some of the best commentaries available for the books of the New Testament. Continue reading

The Atheist Delusion

delusionThe Atheist Delusion is a fast-moving, confrontational collection of interviews that pulls no punches in exploring faith with atheists. In around an hour, Christian evangelist, Ray Comfort, uses his own variation on some well-known arguments against atheism that bypass jargon and helpfully appeal to logical reasoning. It is simple without being simplistic and offers great tips to Christians for explaining their beliefs to others. Continue reading

Pecha Kucha

_DSC0247Pecha Kucha is a concept devised by an architect in Japan fed up with boring presentations. It has forced a rethink on approaches to public speaking that transcend the delivery of content-rich seminars and has become a global phenomenon. Though not directly transferable to every scenario, it does help force greater engagement and emotional connection. Its beauty is the focus it offers, even to those less naturally gifted at addressing an audience. I still use video playback with preachers learning to be comfortable with their use of body language and intonation, but Pecha Kucha drives style on the fly. Continue reading

Creating Passionate Worship Experiences

Some of my greatest joy in years of playing piano and keyboards in live church worship has been in creating responsive atmospheres that are allowed some room to breathe. This skill transcends the scripted singing of songs and excessive musical arrangement to offer expressive space, simplicity and sensitivity. Well-crafted music can facilitate authentic God-experiences. Here are some simple chord progressions that I have utilised over the past few decades to promote felt participation in preference to forced presentation.

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The Missing Essential for Greater Impact

BB1promoI so often find people craving God in the way that some seek after wealth. There is a feeling that churches are missing something, that they don’t yet have enough, and that a kind of lotto jackpot of revival will fix whatever may seem broken and then propel them into perpetual spiritual bliss. Naturally, this analogy is limited and we all need a greater experience of God, but there is a danger of too easily missing the most basic and essential key to a Christian’s optimised effectiveness. Continue reading

Three Keys to Refuting Atheism

RichardDawkinsThe 2007 release of The Dawkins Delusion offered a play on the title of a popular book, The God Delusion, written by the belligerent biologist, Richard Dawkins. As a best-selling response to Dawkins’ work authored by theologian and Ph.D. scientist, Alister McGrath, it naturally attracted opposition from Dawkins for its lack of evidence for God (who overlooks his own lack evidence against Him). This wrangling of two Oxford dons is no mere academic squabble, but a public battle for the hearts and minds of the masses. Debate over origins seeks the ideological bedrock for the worldviews of Christianity and atheism whilst, ironically, neither is provable and both require faith. McGrath raises three key objections against the atheism of Dawkins which has been unsurprisingly influential for a generation grasping at the straws of legitimacy in its pursuit of a godless agenda. Continue reading

The Practicademy of Pentecost

Earth_Eastern_HemisphereMention oxymorons and people often trot out hackneyed favourites, such as “Microsoft Works” and “Advanced Basic.” Another obsolete offering is, “Pentecostal Scholar.” However, formal training within Charismatic contexts is rightly proliferating worldwide in optimising the impact and effectiveness of Pentecostal ministry. In addition to the benefit of informal and accredited programs in promoting vocational competence, higher education both informs and affirms such a faith expression as it honours the Word of Christ and the Christ of His Word. This synthesis invariably and inextricably presupposes the inspiration of the Spirit who invigorates the Church. Continue reading